2020 – Phenix Fire Records / Vanessa Collier
By Phillip Smith; Feb. 6, 2021
They say you got to strike while the iron is hot, and that is exactly what Vanessa Collier is doing. As the recipient of the “Horn Player of the Year” award for two years in a row at the Blues Music Awards in 2019 and 2020, this artist is surely setting herself up for a three-peat. Collier brings an immense amount of talent to the studio for her fourth album Heart on the Line. She’s truly at the top of her game both vocally and as a sax player. Backing Collier on this eleven-track album is Laura Chavez on electric guitar, C.C. Ellis, Scott Sutherland (Mike Zito, Albert Castiglia), and Cornell Williams on bass, William Gorman on organ/piano, Quinn Carson on trombone, and Doug Woolverton on trumpet.
I absolutely love “Bloodhound”, Collier sings the song with a sweet Mississippi twang as Chavez pours gobs of swampy goodness all over her slide guitar. Topped with horns and searing guitar, the rolling rhythm on “Take a Chance on Me” is funky and infectious. Collier beautifully delivers another outstanding dose of original blues with her breathtaking voice and mastery of the saxophone on “Weep and Moan”,
Out of the eleven tracks, all are original with the exception of two covers. The first being a groovy remake of James Brown’s “Super Bad”. Slathered with heaping helpings of delicious sax, this one leads the album off in style. The second is a fresh and hip take on Randy Neuman’s “Leave Your Hat On”. Collier really gets down on this one. It’s plumb terrific.
Heart on the Line is an album I would highly recommend. It’s a superb recording.
(note: In 2019, I had the pleasure of catching Laura Chavez perform with Nikki Hill as the Friday night headliner at the Prairie Dog Blues Festival in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The show was downright splendid.)
For more information about the artist, visit this website : vanessacollier.com
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